The process of adopting children from foreign countries involves the application and compliance of three different sets of laws: the US state laws, the US Federal Laws (which include immigration regulations) international treaties and the laws of the foreign country. Our firm coordinates the international adoption process with foreign/local adoption agencies (or local social workers), foreign counselors, local Immigration and Naturalization offices and US Consular posts abroad until the adoptive child enters the US as a lawful permanent resident. Only US citizens are eligible to bring a foreign born child to the US . If you are not a U.S. Citizen and you wish to adopt and bring your adopted child(ren) to the U.S., please read this Department of State important information.
A major change in the international adoption process was developed since the United States ratified the Hague Adoption Convention. The Hague Convention entered into force on April 1, 2008. This Convention is a multi-national treaty that provides uniform standards for intercountry adoptions and establishes international procedures and safe guards to protect the best interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents who are involved in intercountry adoptions. Effective April 1, 2008, intercountry adoptions between the United States and other Convention countries must comply with the Hague Adoption Convention standards.
Previously, there was one procedure and one set of forms that governed the immigration component of the intercountry adoption process. The Hague Adoption Convention affected several aspects of the adoption and immigration process. These are the most important changes :
- Each country that has ratified the Hague Adoption Convention must have an officially designated "Central Authority" to ensure that the adoption process is safeguarded. In the U.S., the Central Authority is the U.S. Department of State.
- In a Hague Convention adoption, prospective adoptive parent(s) must use the services of an authorized "Adoption Service Provider", and
- Two separate immigration processes for intercountry adoption were created, each with a distinct set of forms (Hague and non-Hague). The correct process to follow and the correct forms to use is determined by whether the country from which the child is to be adopted is a Convention country or a non-Convention country. Accordingly, prospective adoptive parent(s) must first determine the country from which they will adopt before they begin the immigration process.
The Hague Adoption Process
Effective April 1, 2008, prosctive adoptive parents will need to file two different forms before the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country (I-800A), and the Petition to Classify a Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative (I-800). The purpose of the I-800A is to review the suitability and eligibility of prospective adoptive parent(s), while the I-800 determines a child’s Convention classification eligibility.
The filing procedures remain the same for non-Convention countries - Form I-600A and Form I-600.
The US Department of State has a very informative web site regarding international adoptions including detailed adoption procedures, frequently asked questions, international adoptions safeguards or guidelines on how to adopt from a particular country.
The following are useful links to adoption related sites:
- Hague Adoption Convention Countries
- Hague Convention on International Adoptions
- U.S. Accredited Adoption Service Providers
- International Adoptions form A to Z (PDF File)
- DOS News & Alerts
- Country Specific Information About Adoption
- Adoption of Relatives